Short-term rentals, a new development, cold-weather shelters and health care were all discussed at the most recent Qualicum Beach council meeting.
A new development proposed for 850 Eaglecrest Dr./2075 Island Highway beside the Eaglecrest Golf Course was discussed, but town CAO Sailland said it’s still in the beginning stages of moving through council. The property is outside the urban containment area of town, which means it would need to move through an amendment process to go forward.
“Right now it’s early days and it’s a concept that went forth to council because if we are going to consider it, then we have to do all the necessary steps for amending those key areas of all our policies,” Sailland said. “It’s a larger process, rather than a simple re-development.”
• Coun. Scott Harrison brought up a notice of a motion surrounding the lack of a cold-weather shelter in the area. Neighbouring Parksville doesn’t have a dedicated cold-weather shelter for the first time in years. Harrison’s notice reads: “Whereas the lack of a cold-weather shelter poses a serious risk to the health of several Canadians in our region, be it resolved that, in a Committee of the Whole meeting in the spring of 2020, council discusses the requirements for a cold-weather shelter with relevant local stakeholders and look at what role, if any, the town should play.”
Sailland said this isn’t the town taking a stance or making a commitment, but rather acknowledging an issue exists and expressing interest in options.
• Feasibility for a health care centre was also brought up, something that has been discussed in council before. The Perfect Storm group has been working to try and establish a health care facility in Qualicum Beach since 2017 to address the shortage of doctors and medical facilities in town. The town has now moved to support a feasibility study/business plan for the project.
“It really is doing the feasibility and then that allows us from there to make decisions and either go fundraising or to, you know, advance with the province and see what they would be willing to do,” Sailland said.
• Regarding short-term rentals, the resolution council decided on reads: “that council direct staff to prepare a report for the legalization, monitoring and enforcement of short-term vacation rentals in residential areas of Qualicum Beach.”
“It is an issue I think everywhere, and we’re no different,” said Sailland about short-term rentals affecting the housing market. “The process that we’ve gone through is that we’ve looked to try and align with the regional district, with Parksville and work with Parksville Qualicum Beach tourism to try and say, look at angles for how it is we could better manage this situation.”
Sailland said their approach has shown the difference between the areas and their needs, so this is council starting to look at short-term rentals from a more local perspective.
The next Qualicum Beach council meeting will be on Nov. 19.